Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Recovery hasn't been easy for man shot at Clearwater party

Shooting victim Dennis Miyawa remains at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

Courtesy of the Miyawa family

Shooting victim Dennis Miyawa remains at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

A man gunned down at a Clearwater party seemed to make an impressive recovery. Friends and family swarmed Dennis Miyawa's bedside. His buddy posted a video on YouTube of Miyawa thanking everyone for their support.

But within days, his fever spiked, and he was fighting for his life again.

March 20, Miyawa and two other men were shot by Alexander Epstein at a going-away party. Benjamin Kubes, 20, and Ibrahim Kamara, 22, were killed. Miyawa, 20, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg with life-threatening injuries. Epstein, 19, was later shot dead by undercover deputies.

"For a 20-year-old to be having fun with his friends one minute and to be fighting for his life the next minute is unbelievable," said Miyawa's aunt, Janet Dowell, 48.

Miyawa, who teaches kids at a Largo recreation center, was shot three times. One bullet passed through his arm and another went through his side, Dowell said. The other apparently damaged part of his digestive tract, she said.

Miyawa's father, Charles, has kept a vigil by his son's side. Dowell and her sister have been taking turns watching Miyawa so his father could go to his Largo home for a few hours at a time, she said. Miyawa's mother died in 2003 from cancer, Dowell said.

Miyawa has been tough through the ordeal. He hasn't made a fuss at the hospital, even when he was in pain.

"His eyebrows furrowed, but he wouldn't complain," she said.

Miyawa initially seemed to make a miraculous recovery. He was cracking jokes, visiting with friends and watching The Simpsons. Then, last week the infection set in. Miyawa's temperature spiked to 104.

Dowell said she was afraid she might lose her nephew.

But Miyawa started to feel better this week. Monday, he was able to eat solid food. Dowell fed him a few bites of meatloaf, corn and rice.

And by Wednesday his fever was down to 98.4 degrees.

"Hopefully, now, we are on the road to recovery," Dowell said.

Lorri Helfand can be reached at or (727) 445-4155.

Recovery hasn't been easy for man shot at Clearwater party 03/31/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 31, 2010 8:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Romano: Sinkholes take Florida's quirks to a whole 'nother level

    Public Safety

    So all of this — the beaches, palm trees and fresh grouper sandwiches — comes with a few extenuating costs. To live in Florida is to accept a lifestyle of hazards, both peculiar and deadly. Lightning strikes and hurricanes, for example. Alligators and sharks, too. Floods, drug traffickers, spring break and …

    Two days after a sinkhole opened in front of her Spring Hill home in 2014, Linda Fisher packs up to leave for good.
  2. On the Camino de Santiago, Day 18: Despite feeling ill, this pilgrim passes the midpoint in her 500-mile journey on foot


    Day 18: Lédigos to El Burgo Ranero: 34.3 km, 12.25 hours (Total for Days 1-18 = 428 km (266 miles)

    Today was a struggle.

  3. Former Rays/current Cubs manager Joe Maddon featured on NBC Sunday news show


    Former Rays and current Cubs manager Joe Maddon will be featured on this week's "Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly" show at 7 p.m. on NBC, the Harry Smith interview covering not just Maddon's on-field accomplishments but his extensive efforts to help his hometown of Hazleton, Pa.

    "Here's what's so …

    Joe Maddon talking with NBC News' Harry Smith.
  4. For starters: Souza returns to lineup



  5. Actor John Heard dies at age 72


    John Heard, who played so many roles in the '80s but was probably best known as the dad in the Home Alone movies, has died, according to media reports. He was 72.